Jeri Ryan, Barack Obama
Credit: Gregg DeGuire/;Soren McCarty/
Star Trek: The Original Series

If Barack Obama (pictured, right) wins the presidency, he may have the most powerful woman in the pop-culture universe to thank. No, not Oprah; Seven-of-Nine of the Borg collective. On the heels of Obama's victory in the Iowa caucuses last week (and before his second-place finish in the New Hampshire primary last night), the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute reminds us that Obama owes his current high profile in part to Star Trek: Voyager's Jeri Ryan (left). Without her (and her apparent violation of Star Trek's Prime Directive, the law against meddling in the internal affairs of other civilizations), he might still be a little-known state senator toiling away in Springfield, Illinois.

In 2004, Jack Ryan, the actress' ex-husband, was the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from Illinois. Then his divorce records became public, including allegations by Jeri that he'd pressured her to have public sex in swingers clubs in various cities. Ryan denied the allegations but dropped out of the race a few days later. The Republicans recruited former MSNBC host Alan Keyes to run in Ryan's place. Obama defeated him in a landslide, earning himself a U.S. Senate seat and a prominent public platform from which to launch his presidential campaign.

Which just goes to show: the Borg remain all-powerful. Resistance is futile.

Star Trek: The Original Series
Star Trek
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